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Illicit brew traders device new tricks ply their trade

Illicit brew traders in Tharaka Nithi have devised tricks to evade the measures laid out by the combined efforts of the county and national government administration, village elders and other local authorities to eradicate the vice.

Speaking to the press outside his office yesterday, Governor Muthomi Njuki disclosed that the unscrupulous traders have started using new ways like using thermos flasks, juice cans and bottles to stock illegal alcohol in hotels and other recreation centers while disguising it as a refreshment

Njuki further revealed that other illicit traders store jerricans full of brew on trees tops, on hilltops and use a phone code servive ' outside catering’ to sell illicit brews and alcohol outside the authorised time adding many ventures into the deepest places of natural forests to store the brew.

“Another method is the use of knapsack sprayers to ferry the brew by pretending to be headed to their farms to spray crops. I urge residents of the county to be mindful of their health because an apparatus used to store chemicals when substituted for a product for human consumption will certainly endanger their health,” Njuki emphasised.

He further called on the multi-agency team to be properly securing the targeted area to ensure their operation is done covertly.

He claimed some revellers are crossing over to other counties and in their defense they say that they have not bought or drunk the brew within the county.

“Those claiming that they have been drinking in other counties after they have been arrested by the police, let them know that all counties are operating under the same law and hence their argument does not hold water. They will be arrested and will be taken to court,” Governor Njuki added.

He said as the campaign against illicit brews is getting tougher and more thorough, bars like Palace Inn in Marimanti market in Tharaka South, have been in the sportlight for their arrogance to comply with the laws and rules of operation. Their licenses have been revoked and the bars closed.

The governor further cautioned that there are people selling animal feeds to the brewers using the backdoor and this is what is bringing strains between the authority and the operation of fighting illicit brew.

His sentiments were echoed by the County Commissioner, Wesley Koech who assured the people of Tharaka Nithi that the fruits of this campaign are evident as at the moment because families are being united as husbands and sons have gone back to their homes due to the closure of the drinking dens and places.

“We are gearing towards eliminating these second and third generation alcohol and ensuring that people remain sober around the county. This operation should not be left to the police and the area managers alone. Let’s all be vigilant,” said Mr Koech.

The County Commissioner emphasised that the media should work together with the community and authorities in the enforcement of the laws and regulations and further urged everybody to be on the lookout for secret suppliers and dens and report to the area managers and the police.

He said the rules and regulations set by the alcoholic control act and liquor licensing board have specified times that all bars should operate and hence those operating during illegal hours and claiming to be under the protection of certain authorities should be arrested and taken court.

Njuki hailed Community Health Volunteers (CHVS) and Area Managers in places like Kithino location in Chiakariga Sub- County and Mwerera sub-location in Tharaka South sub-county since these areas have long remained illicit brew free zones.

By David Mutwiri and Beatrice Mwende

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